(Previous Rank; Previous Result; Rank Change)
1. New York Giants
(No. 1; W, 27-16 vs. KC; No Change)
An injury to Eli Manning may slow the team down a bit, but they’re still the best team in my estimation.
2. Indianapolis Colts
(No. 2; W, 34-17 vs. Sea; No Change)
Nothing out of the ordinary, the Colts took care of business at home against a below average football team.
3. Minnesota Vikings
(No. 3; W, 30-23 vs. GB; No Change)
They haven’t played as well as they’re capable of playing yet this season, but that victory over the Packers was awfully convincing.
4. New Orleans Saints
(No. 5; W, 24-10 vs. NYJ; Up 1)
Drew Brees was held without a touchdown pass for the second straight week, which is a bit of a head-scratcher, but all that matters is that they picked up the win against a good football team to remain unbeaten.
5. New England Patriots
(No. 6; W, 27-21 vs. Bal; Up 1)
They’ve defended their home field two weeks in a row against two of the better football teams in the league. I think these guys still have something left in the tank despite talks of the opposite.
6. Baltimore Ravens
(No. 4; L, 27-21 vs. NE; Down 2)
Picked up their first loss of the season against a good Patriots team on the road.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
(No. 7; Bye; No Change)
It’s good that Donovan McNabb got an extra week of rest. They’ll need him healthy if they want to remain in the chase for a wild card, or the NFC East title.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
(No. 8; W, 38-28 vs. SD; No Change)
Maintained their home field supremacy and picked up a much-needed conference victory.
9. New York Jets
(No. 9; L, 24-10 vs. NO; No Change)
Faced a stiff test against one of the best teams in the league and managed to hold them in check, but couldn’t close the deal on the road.
10. San Diego Chargers
(No. 10; L, 38-28 vs. Pit; No Change)
It’s tough to go into Pittsburgh and win, so I can’t fault them for losing to the Steelers.
11. Atlanta Falcons
(No. 11; Bye; No Change)
The bye gave them an extra week to prepare for a pretty good 49ers team in San Francisco this coming week.
12. Chicago Bears
(No. 13; W, 48-24 vs. Det; Up 1)
After a mediocre first half in which they couldn’t stop the vaunted Lions passing attack, the Bears settled in and cruised in the second half.
13. Denver Broncos
(No. 15; W, 17-10 vs. Dal; Up 2)
Somehow, they contine to find ways to win. They’re not a great football team, but they’re disciplined and are making things work out to their advantage.
14. Cincinnati Bengals
(No. 16; W, 23-20 vs. Cle; Up 2)
Some thought they might roll against a bad Browns team but their neighbors to the northeast played them tough. Still, the Bengals are sitting pretty at 3-1.
15. Green Bay Packers
(No. 12; L, 30-23 vs. Min; Down 3)
Probably have one of the worst offensive lines in football and that’s not going to help them in tight games. Aaron Rodgers’ health is at stake.
16. Dallas Cowboys
(No. 14; L, 17-10 vs. Den; Down 2)
I’ve suspected since he took over for Drew Bledose a few years ago that Tony Romo was never the real deal and I don’t think he ever made a believer of me. Now, he’s starting to make doubters of everyone else.
17. San Francisco 49ers
(No. 19; W, 35-0 vs. Stl; Up 2)
At first, I just thought the 49ers were like the Broncos — playing hard and winning games based on hustle and attitude. But these guys have some serious talent on defense and have just enough on offense to get by.
18. Arizona Cardinals
(No. 18; Bye; No Change)
Bye week came at a good time for them to evaluate why they’ve fallen off since last year’s historic run.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars
(No. 21; W, 37-17 vs. Ten; Up 2)
These guys are a conundrum. They’ve looked awful at times but then have looked surprisingly good at other times. They need to work on their consistency, but I don’t think they have it in them to make a wild card run.
20. Carolina Panthers
(No. 20; Bye; No Change)
One of the biggest disappointments of the season, the Panthers have to figure out why their run game and defense haven’t been as effective as last season.
21. Houston Texans
(No. 22; W, 29-6 vs. Oak; Up 1)
Well, they’re on pace to be exactly as they’ve been the past few years… average. That’s not going to get them into the playoffs.
22. Miami Dolphins
(No. 26; W, 38-10 vs. Buf; Up 4)
Finally got off the schneid with a victory over a struggling Bills team. At season’s end, they’ll still find themselves near the bottom of the conference looking up, though.
23. Washington Redskins
(No. 23; W, 16-13 vs. TB; No Change)
They can’t keep facing teams like Tampa Bay all season. Dan Snyder needs to relinquish his football operations to somebody who knows what they’re doing and stick to writing checks.
24. Tennessee Titans
(No. 17; L, 37-17 vs. Jac; Down 7)
I’m still baffled how these guys have gone from the best regular season record last year to winless through the first quarter of this season. They’ve had some tough opponents early, and now they risk dropping to 0-6 with contests against the Colts and Patriots upcoming.
25. Buffalo Bills
(No. 24; L, 38-10 vs. Mia; Down 1)
Dick Jauron’s seat couldn’t possibly get any hotter than it is right now and, in my estimation, he’s as good as fired at season’s end.
26. Seattle Seahawks
(No. 25; L, 34-17 vs. Ind; Down 1)
Got crushed by a much better team on the road. It will do the Seahawks some good if they can get Matt Hasselbeck back and start running the ball better, too.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(No. 27; L, 16-13 vs. Was; No Change)
It’s going to be a long season for a guy who has no business being a head football coach, at least not at this stage in his career.
28. Oakland Raiders
(No. 28; L, 29-6 vs. Hou; No Change)
JaMarcus Russell just isn’t any good. Period.
29. Detroit Lions
(No. 29; L, 48-24 vs. Chi; No Change)
They put a big fight in the first half, as they have in each of their first four games, but came out flat in the second half. They have things turned in the right direction, at least.
30. Kansas City Chiefs
(No. 30; L, 27-16 vs. NYG; No Change)
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I think Todd Haley has actually made this team regress since last year.
31. Cleveland Browns
(No. 31; L, 23-20 vs. Cin; No Change)
Somehow they seem to play their best football against their cross-state rival. I think Derek Anderson had a little something to do with it, too, because Brady Quinn just isn’t a very good quarterback.
32. St. Louis Rams
(No. 32; L, 35-0 vs. SF; No Change)
I doubt they will, but might the Rams be venturing down the same path the Lions did last year? Their only winnable games, in my estimation, are Jacksonville, Detroit, Arizona, and Seattle. And none of those games are gimmes.